Saturday, February 19, 2011

International Mother Language Day 2011

The program of this years event, is interesting. I am sure that interesting things will be said and, it is absolutely vital that they are said again. To have a vital language it is essential for them to make optimal use of the infrastructure that the Internet provides.

Understanding the technical components needed for a language to exist and do well is different from what it takes to get a lot of content in a language on the Internet. The two are however loosely connected.

  • is the script supported in Unicode
  • does Unicode support all the characters for the language
  • is the language recognised in the standards
  • is information about the language available in the CLDR
  • do applications know the language and register its use
  • are Unicode fonts, complete for the language, readily available
  • is support for the script mature
  • have people access to computers, the Internet
  • do applications that produce documents and pdf support the script
  • is there OCR support for the script
  • can you effectively google for that language
  • is there a Wikipedia for that language
The International Mother Language Day is a great initiative as it expresses the wish to bring languages into the modern age and with it the people and the culture they represent. It does take not that much effort or money to ensure that the technical bits and bobs are provided for. If there is a problem, it is a lack of coordination and ownership of the problem. As it is it has to be organised for a language, a script at a time.

1 comment:

Amir said...

There's another issue which deserves its own line in your list: is it possible to type that language using a standard keyboard layout which is available in common operating systems.

The ability to type all the characters needed for a language only in particular programs (e.g. Microsoft Word) or only on one website (e.g. Wikipedia) is better than nothing, but it's not enough.